Frequently Asked Questions
Hardwoods

  • Traditional Solid Hardwood Floors showcase solid wood boards, milled from single pieces of wood. This type of flooring:
    • Is generally 1/2” to 3/4” thick and can be refinished many times, and so has the potential to last for decades.
    • Is designed for installation over a wood subfloor, with each board positioned and individually nailed or stapled to the subfloor or installed over screeds and mastic (not suitable for installation on a concrete substrate – Exception: glue-down shorts)
    • Comes both in unfinished (sanded and finished on jobsite) and prefinished options
      • Unfinished = Lower Material Costs + Higher Installation Costs
      • Prefinished = Higher Material Costs + Lower Installation Costs
  • Engineered Hardwood Flooring is made of multiple layers of plywood wood, resin, and polymers (each layer is positioned in a different direction), and then topped with a layer of real hardwood. This type of flooring:
    • Can be installed by many different methods (e.g.: floating floor, glue down, nail down) in most grade levels of the home, including below ground with a protective moisture barrier installed.
    • Multi-layer / multi-directional construction offsets warping and bowing
    • Typically comes prefinished (once installed, you’re set!), but is available in unfinished options for jobsite finish
      • Prefinished = higher material costs + lower installation costs
    • Is generally 3/8” to 5/8” thick (and can be refinished 1 to 2 times, depending on thickness of the hardwood wear layer).
      • Most wear layers on today’s Engineered Hardwood Floors vary between 0.5 to 6mm.
        • 0.5 to 1mm wear layer: cannot be sanded and refinished; only recoated with a layer of polyurethane.
        • 2mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 1 to 2X.
        • 3mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 2 to 3X.
        • 4 to 6 mm wear layer: can be sanded and refinished 3 to 6X

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS ABOUT REFINISHING A PREFINISHED FLOOR:
  • Because of the thick and pervasive nature of the prefinished topcoat, refinishing requires extensive sanding to reach the natural hardwood.
  • Sanding and refinishing will void any manufacturer warranty associated with your prefinished flooring materials.

Jobsite Finished means you have raw hardwood (e.g.: 4” wide White Oak or Red Oak plank that is 3/4” thick) that needs to be nailed into the floor and then sanded & finished (e.g.: stain + urethane or wax). on-site.
Some of the qualities you will find in your Floors Etc. jobsite finished floors:
  • True artistry.
    • Our Team of craftsmen is highly skilled and experienced – most have been with us for 15+ years. They take as much pride in your floors as we do!
    • We use only the highest quality materials from the most reputable vendors – this includes our wood, our stains, our finishes, and everything else it takes to install your floor.
    • Every piece of wood is beautiful and unique – trees are one-of-a-kind!
    • Highly customizable – unlimited finish options
      • Specialty finishes available (e.g.: popping grain; custom stain colors; hand-scraping; wire-scraping; etc.)
  • Your custom bid will be comprised of lower material costs + higher installation costs (installation, sanding, finishing) – this bid will be given to you within 48 hours of our On-Site Consultation. We pride ourselves on sticking with our proposal pricing – rare changes are made in partnership with you (or at your request) and in conjunction with a formal Change Order.
Some other things to consider about Jobsite Finished floors:
  • Once completed, you will always be able to match your floor – for repairs or to add additional rooms, etc.
  • The finish will result in a relatively uniform stain color.
  • There will be a period when you will not be able to be in these areas of your home.
    • If you are sensitive to fumes, you may want to be out of the home during the finish process.
  • These floors may need to be refinished every 7 to 15 years, depending on your choice of finish and diligence of maintenance.
    • You also have the option to “Screen and Coat” to freshen up your finish – this is a less expensive (and less time-consuming) option that will renew the finish of your floor, without the full sand and finish process.
Prefinished Hardwood means the material has been finished in the factory and then you just install it – this is available in both Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. Some of the qualities you will find in your Floors Etc. prefinished floors:
  • Expert Craftsmanship
    • Your custom bid will be comprised of higher material costs + lower installation costs – this bid will be given to you within 48 hours of our On-Site Consultation. We pride ourselves on sticking with our proposal pricing – rare changes are made in partnership with you (or at your request) and in conjunction with a formal Change Order.
    • Our Team of craftsmen is highly skilled and experienced – most have been with us for 15+ years. They take as much pride in your floors as we do!
    • Customizable installation – though your finish options are limited to what you select, there are options by way of pattern and layout installation.
    • We use only the highest quality materials from the most reputable vendors – this includes our wood, our adhesives, and everything else it takes to install your floor.
Some other things to consider about Prefinished floors:
  • It’s a faster process – once installed, you’re done!
  • Unlike Jobsite Finished floors, there is minimal dust and much less mess and smell – by the time we finish, you will only know we were there because of your beautiful new floors.
  • Your subfloor may need floating (this is an additional cost)
    • A level subfloor is essential to ensure a smooth finish floor surface – if your subfloor is not level, it must be evened out with “float”.
  • Durability – the factory applied finish treatment is applied by commercial process not available at on-site installation. This typically consists of aluminum oxide crystals embedded in a UV-cured urethane coat.
    • Manufacturer product warranty is generally very long.
  • Planks are finished with micro-beveled edges
    • Help prevent potential occasional splintering over time that can happen to the wood as it naturally expands and contracts in fluctuating humidity
    • Can trap dust
  • Easy maintenance
  • Refinishing is possible
    • NOTE: For Engineered Hardwood Flooring, this will depend on the wear layer.

Making sure your wood floor is covered with a protective finish, like wax or polyurethane, is the very best way you can protect your flooring investment.
Keeping this protective finish in good repair is also a critical step to good hardwood floor maintenance – Floors Etc. offers different services (Clean and Wax | Clean and Spray Buff | Screen and Coat | Sand and Finish) for whatever finish you have on your floor – and for whatever state of repair they might be in.

DRY TIME v. CURE TIME
  • Dry Time is when you a finish has dried and cured enough so that you can walk on it so that it will not sustain any damage from carefully walking on it – this is generally considerably less than cure time, and we promise we’ll tell you when it is safe to walk on your new flooring surface once we’ve completed our work.
  • Cure Time is the time it takes for all the solvents, etc. to evaporate from the finish, for the fumes and smell to stop being released and for it to fully harden, which depends on the type of finish as well as temperature, airflow and humidity levels.

Below are Floors Etc.’s recommended guidelines according to finish type:
  • Wax Finish / Hardwax Oils
    • Socks: same day
    • Shoes: next day
    • Pets: 2 days
    • Furniture: 1 to 2 days
    • Rugs: 5 days
  • Oil-Based Polyurethane
    • Socks: 1 day
    • Shoes: 2 days
    • Pets: 10 days
    • Furniture: 7 to 10 days
    • Rugs: 30 days
  • Water-Based Polyurethane
    • Socks: 1 day
    • Shoes: 2 days
    • Pets: 7 days
    • Furniture: 5 to 7 days
    • Rugs: 14 days

REMEMBER…a solid maintenance routine is the key to your floor’s long life, resilience, and lasting beauty.

The length of time that lapses in between your professional hardwood floor cleanings depends on the type of floor you have and the amount of traffic that traipses across it.
  • For hardwood floors with a wax finish, we offer Wax and Buff services.
  • For hardwood floors with a polyurethane finish and prefinished hardwood floors we offer Clean and Spray Buff services.

The best way to tell if your floor is in need of a professional cleaning is by comparing a corner of the floor that sees no traffic to the rest.
If there is a marked difference in the sheen, then it’s time to call us! 
We also suggest that you take a look at the cracks and grooves for dirt accumulation.
    • Not only is that dirt ruining the look of your floor, it is destroying the integrity of the wood.
    • Only a professional hardwood cleaning team of experts can remove that built up dirt and make your floors sparkle again.

We recommend you follow Floors Etc.’s Hardwood Floor Maintenance Guidelines to keep the beautiful look of your hardwood floors in between cleanings. Some of our key recommendations include:
  • Regular sweeping or vacuuming daily – this will remove the loose sand and particles that destroy your floors sheen.
  • Use door mats and area rugs in high traffic areas to avoid dirt making it to inside the surface of the wood.
  • Spot clean spills as they occur, and only use a damp mop when absolutely necessary.

Because pet urine can quickly damage wooden floors, cleaning them immediately and properly can help a lot in preventing permanent stains.
Poochee went potty on the hardwood floor! You need to act fast!
  1. Start by blotting up as much urine as you can with paper towels. To avoid spreading the urine, wipe from the outside to the center. Once you have blotted up all the wet urine, try blotting the same spot using a damp paper towel.
  2. Clean the wooden floor with a neutral pH dog-safe floor cleaner, like Bona.
But what about those times you missed the infraction in action???
If the stain isn’t too deep, you have some viable solutions. Unfortunately, if the stain is dark black, it will not come out, even when you sand and refinish the floors – but Options #4 and #5 on the list below will help, even in these situations.

Option 1: Surface Treat
Depending on the depth of the stain and the type of finish you have on your floors, you may be able to have your floors Screened and Coated (for polyurethane finishes only). This will not eliminate the stain, but it will improve the overall appearance of your floors and make the stain less noticeable. It is a far less expensive option than sanding and refinishing your floors. If your floors are prefinished or finished with wax, you can also have them Spray Buffed or Waxed and Buffed to help lessen the appearance of the stain.

Option 2: Repair
If you have prefinished floors, consider having us remove the stained pieces of hardwood and replace them with a close match. This is even better if you have extra boxes on hand for repairs! This is a relatively simple and quick process – once done, you’ll never even know we were there or where your fur-baby oopsied!

Option 3: Spot Sand
Again, depending on the severity (depth) of the stain and on the type of finish and wear layer, it may be possible for us to sand down deep enough completely eliminate it. The area around the sanding would need to be stained and finished, as well, for everything to properly blend to make the refinished area less noticeable.
DISCLAIMER: There would be a slight difference in color and sheen level from existing floor – our Floors Etc. craftsmen are experts at feathering new and existing floors so to make them virtually unnoticeable.

Option 4: Repair then Sand and Refinish (usually the best solution if viable for your floors, though it can be a bit more costly)
We will remove the damaged pieces of hardwood and weave in new to blend in with the existing, then sand and refinish the whole room, making your floors look good as new. As always, the type of finish and/or wear layer of your floor will be the deciding factor on whether or not this is a viable option.

Option 5: Sand and Refinish in darker color
Sand and finish the entire area in a dark and stylish stain color as Ebony, Jacobean, Dark Walnut or Royal Mahogany, which will cover up the pet stains. Of course, being able to do this will depend on the type of finish and/or wear layer of your floor.
DISCLAIMER: Even with sanding and refinishing, an odor from a stain set far into the wood could return, especially if the room gets especially warm over a long period of time.

Wood + Water = A Bad Combination
Left sitting water can cause warping, cupping, popping, discoloration, and mold growth – permanently damaging your once beautiful hardwood floors.
Wood can get wet (or moist) in a multitude of ways
  • External Sources
    • Heavy Rain – We live in Houston, and heavy rain happens! We all know it floods around here – and sometimes the water rises…and rises…and rises. And when that happens, floors get really wet. We can help!
    • Leaky Windows, Doors, and Roof – Sometimes regular rain or landscape watering can sneak in if you have an undetected leak at an exterior passage or from above. Staining or peeling paint by windows, doors or on the ceiling could indicate water is seeping into your home and onto your floors.
    • Fire (with water used to extinguish the fire)
    • High Water Table Foundation / Subfloor
  • Internal Sources (often hidden behind walls, cabinets or underneath appliances)
    • Leaking or Broken HVAC System
    • Leaking or Broken Appliances (e.g.: dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines etc.)
    • Bathtub, Sink, Toilet Overflow
    • Leaky Pipes (or the in the rare occasion in Houston – frozen pipes)

The need for speed!

If you have water on your hardwood floors, we recommend removing it and drying your floors as fast as possible. The longer the wood and the water are in contact, the worse the damage – so, the first 24 hours are critical. The faster you remove the water from and properly dry your hardwood floors, the more likely it is you will be able to save your hardwood flooring (or most of it) and sub-floor, as well as to prevent mold growth.


DID YOU KNOW? According to the EPA, mold growth can start within 48-72 hours when your floors (or walls) get wet.


Our Recommendations for water removal and drying your Hardwood Floors after a flood:
    1.  Find and stop the source of the water damage – this is critical.
Persistent moisture over time is required for water damage problems to manifest. Before any attempt is made to repair the damage, the first question to ask is “Where did the water come from?” If the water that damaged your floors originated from another problem that needs repair, Floors Etc. recommends you attend to this issue prior to repairing your floors – if you do not, it is likely you will face the same problem with your repaired floors down the road.
CLIENT STORY: A recent Floors Etc. client replaced her floor 4 times before hiring us – frustrated that it repeatedly cupped. We worked with her but found such high moisture levels on her concrete slab that we would not install a new floor for her until the source of the moisture was identified and fixed. She is now living with beautiful dry hardwood floors (her 5th in 4 years!) – her experience was much more expensive than it needed to be had she identified her moisture source early.
   2.   Remove all wet items out of the area
   3.   Remove the water!
All excess moisture must be extracted from floor and subfloor before any work can start.
   4.   Dry the room with dehumidifier(s), large fans (oscillating are best) and AC
Make sure any fans, filters, etc. are clean. Place any dehumidifier(s) in the center of the room usually for 1 to 3 days, depending on severity of water* – clear water every few hours. Keep AC on – do NOT apply any type of heat, which can cause splitting, cupping, and mold growth. Reduce foot traffic while areas are drying in order to dry faster and more evenly. (*In some severe cases, a dehumidifier must be used for several weeks.)
   5.   Check any rooms (if any) below the water-damaged flooring.
It is likely that water leaked into the sub-floor beneath the hardwood flooring. Add fans in this room, and, if you have an extra dehumidifier, use it!

Floors Etc. Pro Tip
For expert help on drying everything out, enlist a professional mitigation company as they specialize on water extraction and have the best equipment.

   6.   What to do if boards start to pop or buckle:
Have Floors Etc. assess this during your on-site consultation – if the board(s) need(s) to be removed, we will do it at that time.
   7.   When floor (subfloor) is dry to touch / visibly dry, check for signs of mold / mildew.
Upon any indication (sight / smell) of mold / mildew, we highly recommend consulting a mold/remediation specialist.
DISCLAIMER: Floors Etc. does not specialize in mold, but we do know that it is dangerous and tends to grow easily and fast in moist and wet environments (e.g.: flooded areas; Houston’s ambient climate), especially when it’s warm. If you have it or suspect you might, we always recommend taking the safest route, which may include removing sections of your hardwood as well as calling a specialist.
   8.   Test Floor (Subfloor) Moisture
It can take as long as 4 to 6 weeks (sometimes longer) for your floors to completely dry. Floors Etc. will test the moisture content of any water damaged floors / subfloors prior to beginning any work – multiple tests are typically needed, from the time of initial consultation until the time the floor / subfloor is considered officially dry. We test in multiple places knowing it’s possible that some areas have more moisture than others. Acceptable moisture readings are be between 6-9% before any new hardwood is dropped off for acclimation and installed, or any wood is sanded. We trust the meter – if it says your floors aren’t ready, we wait.
It’s critical that you wait for your existing floors to acclimate before you re-sand them. Otherwise, you will have all sorts of issues as the wood may continue to contract and the floors won’t cure properly. If you rush this step and your floors don’t properly cure, you will need to sand and refinish them a 2nd time (costing more money and adding further stress to your wood – so please, please, PLEASE – wait until they are DRY!).
   9.   Sand and Refinish or Install your hardwood floors
Once everything is dry. it is time to either repair then sand and finish your floors, making them look brand new, or to replace the floor you once had with one that is brand new. Floors Etc. has been doing just this very thing since 1992 and would be delighted to help you from start to finish.

Floors Etc. Pro Tip
Don’t let your insurance company or other contractors rush you. Your insurance adjuster wants to close your case as quickly as possible, and other contractors may be ready to move on their next job. Take your time to ensure the job is done right.

Ventilation, humidity, and temperature control is a must even when the home is not occupied.
  • Flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within:
    • Temperature range
      • 60°-80° Fahrenheit
    • Relative Humidity range
      • 40%-60% (Solid Hardwood)
      • 35%-65% (Engineered Hardwood)

If wood floors are water damaged, the wood can swell. As the wood swells, the boards press on one another and they can push upward slightly at the seams, creating a cupped depression along the center of the board.

YES!
Bacteria, dust and dirt do not embed themselves in wood flooring, as they do in other flooring options. Simple regular maintenance—such as dust mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming—keeps wood floors dust-free.

Every hundred years or so. In fact, the heart pine floors in historic Bacon’s Castle in Virginia are more than three centuries old and counting. Simple care and maintenance keep wood floors looking beautiful for a lifetime.
Instead of laying an entirely new floor when the original is worn, wood floors can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing. When done by a wood flooring professional, wood floors need only to be refinished every 10 – 15 years or 10 – 12 times during a floor’s life.

When a wood floor’s useful life is over, it’s completely biodegradable.

Surface finishes like polyurethane require only simple care. Just dust mop, sweep, or vacuum regularly, following our simple Maintenance and Care Guidelines.
Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations, if known.
When cleaning no longer restores shine, call Floors Etc. to have your floor recoated with a fresh surface finish (Clean and Wax | Screen and Coat).
The frequency of recoating will depend on the amount of regular traffic your on floors.

NEVER wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor.

NOTE: If you have a Prefinished floor, refresh with our simple Clean and Spray Buff service for a deep clean and shine.

NO!!
PLEASE do not wax your polyurethane-coated floors – the finish is meant to maintain a permanent shine, and wax will dull / damage this finish.
  • If your polyurethane-coated floors need to be refreshed, let us help with our Clean and Spray Buff services.
  • If your flooring surface is damaged, it must be repaired with polyurethane of the same type – please see our Screen and Coat services. 

NO!
Please, never damp mop wood floor.
Just dust mop, sweep, or vacuum regularly, following our simple Maintenance and Care Guidelines.

YES.
Millions of people suffer from sensitivity to chemicals and toxins. Tests by leading allergists have proven that wood flooring provides a healthier environment for these allergy sufferers. Wood doesn’t harbor irritating dust and microorganisms.

DISCLAIMER: Floors Etc. is only sharing information and is in no way making medical recommendations or dispensing medical advice. Your flooring choice is a personal decision that must be made by you.

  • If you floor was Jobsite Finished – ABSOLUTELY!
  • If your floor was Prefinished – PROBABLY.
    • This all depends on the thickness of the wear layer and if you’ve had it refinished before (and if so, how many times).
      • Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help.
        Please keep in mind, refinishing a prefinished floor will void the manufacturer warranty.

Floors Etc. Pro Tip
The average refinish removes about .75 to 1mm of your floor’s surface.

  • If the scratch is white, the finish has not been compromised and is repairable.
    Simply using a flooring cleaner, like Bona, should eliminate these blemishes.
  • If the scratch is deeper but the raw wood is not exposed, light buffing with a microfiber cloth can shine up the dull area. Often the damage becomes less obvious.
  • If the damage is more severe, board replacement is typically the best option. If you need us to replace a board, just give us a call.

Floors Etc. Pro Tip
It is important when buying any factory finished floor (includes Prefinished Hardwoods, Laminates, LVT, carpet, etc.) to think about buying extra material in case of unexpected damage. It may be a few years before the material is actually needed – and you may find the product color or style has been discontinued. Locating an extra box can be extremely frustrating. Often you are left with three choices; live with the damage, cover it up with a large area rug that doesn’t look right, or replace the entire area. Having a little extra stored away can be very helpful for life’s unplanned oopsies.

YES!
According to the National Association of Realtors and the National Wood Flooring Association, homes with wood floors sell faster and for more money than for homes without them – in fact, real estate agents estimate wood floors increase selling prices in identical homes by as much as 10%!
Realtors also named new wood flooring and wood floor refinishing as home remodeling projects with the some of the highest yielding financial return upon re-sale (90-100%).

There is no right or wrong species – this is a matter of personal taste. Part of choosing a species of wood involves selecting a color to match your décor. Other appearance-related attributes are important too, such as texture, grain, and cut. Finally, you will need to consider availability and price.

YES!
Designers, builders, and homeowners are discovering what basketball players have always known: wood flooring can take a pounding and still look beautiful. The finishes on most new Prefinished Solid Hardwood and Prefinished Engineered Hardwood floors stand up to heavy traffic, bringing wood flooring into bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-traffic areas. These finishes resist wear and stain better than other finishes and require no stripping, no buffing and no waxing.

YES – this is known as Reclaimed Hardwood or Antique Hardwood, which a popular design trend of wood salvaged from a variety of sources, including old barns and factories. Wood recovered from riverbeds is another growing segment of the wood flooring industry. Logs that sank during logging operations years ago are being recovered by a number of companies and used to create truly unique flooring. Today’s only significant source for heartwood from long-leaf pine is through reclaimed timbers from warehouses and factories constructed during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Cypress, walnut, chestnut, and poplar, are among other options.

YES!
Churches, synagogues, and other clients with auditorium projects increasingly request wood floors for its warmth and acoustic attributes. Ask us about special installation techniques that can increase acoustic abilities.